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Five Students Win GA Utility Contractors Assoc., Inc. Scholarships

Five Georgia Southern students in the B.S. in Construction degree program have been selected as recipients of the 2020 Georgia Utility Contractors Association, Inc. Scholarship Award.

Luiz Benitez, Andy Baskins, Jr., Adam Jones, Myla Kelly, and Charles Adams will each receive scholarships and invitations to attend the 2020 GUCA Fall Quarterly Meeting and Trade Show to be held Nov. 5 at the Loudermilk Center in Atlanta. Dr. Clinton Martin from the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction will accompany the students to the meeting to receive their scholarships.

Center for Applied Cyber Education director takes part in Cyber Exercise

On Sept. 24, Frank Katz, director of the Center for Applied Cyber Education at Georgia Southern, represented the University at Jack Voltaic 3.0, the first all-virtual cyber exercise hosted by the Army Cyber Institute. The exercise simulated a cyber attack in Savannah, and Katz observed the participants’ decisions during the attack to help better educate his cybersecurity students on what to do in similar scenarios.

Before the event, Katz said potential events in the simulation could include cranes at the Savannah ports being shut down, causing participants to have to figure out another way to unload a ship full of containers.

Director of the Center for Applied Cyber Education at Georgia Southern, Frank Katz

“My role is just to observe the exercise, take notes and think of what they’re doing and how it can be used in an academic environment because my goal is to implement this kind of training into our academic program,” said Katz.

In 2016, the Army Cyber Institute executed the first Jack Voltaic, a major city, multi-sector, public-private cyber exercise. It was the first step in building a framework to prepare for, prevent and respond to multi-sector cyber attacks on major cities. The newest version of the exercise will take the current COVID-19 pandemic into consideration.

“We are limited in terms of how we can respond to a cyber security incident because infrastructure is hampered by the fact that people may be out,” Katz said. “People may not be at work. They may have COVID-19 themselves. They may structure the exercise so that simulated characters in the case study are not present, and now participants have to react to that.”

Katz said it’s important for students to get experience with real-world problems like those that will be featured in the simulation because it prepares them for careers in cybersecurity.

“When our students graduate, we often send them to government agencies like the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense,” he said. “Once students get into their careers, they may actually have to be involved, not just in some kind of practice exercise, but in reality when it comes to something like this. This is really good training if we can implement what we learn in the exercise into our coursework.”

The regionally-focused exercise will include commercial, critical infrastructure supporting military deployment and global logistics operations. By conducting Jack Voltaic 3.0, Savannah business leaders and city officials have an opportunity to gain key insights and a better understanding of their respective gaps in incident management for a cyber or cyber-enabled disruption or destructive event. Intrepid Networks is enabling the live mission with communication, coordination and collaboration features designed for real-life incident management and response.

The Jack Voltaic experiment seeks to affect multiple sectors and require a coordinated local, state, federal and commercial response; provide a learning environment that enables participants to gain exposure, develop relationships, train, review critical gaps and shortfalls, and assess their response; conduct a virtual table-top event where both leadership and technical teams communicate and work within and outside their sectors; and commit to concrete, practical improvements to their resiliency and critical infrastructure preparedness.

Industry Expo

Mark your calendars for Dec. 3! The 2020 Virtual Industry Expo is the culminating event for the senior design/capstone project! Visit us at for more information! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering

Georgia Southern University’s College of Engineering and Computing students are solving real world problems with the projects they have developed for the 2020 Industry Expo! You won’t want to miss seeing what they have to offer. Visit us at for more information! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering #GeorgiaSouthern

Thank you Neu-Spine Technologies for being a 2020 Project Partner! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering #GeorgiaSouthern

Thank you Robins Air Force Base for being a 2020 Project Partner! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering #GeorgiaSouthern

Thank you Georgia Power for being a 2020 Project Partner! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering #GeorgiaSouthern

Thank you Daniel Defense for being a 2020 Project Partner! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering #GeorgiaSouthern

Thank you Reynolds American for being a 2020 Project Partner! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering #GeorgiaSouthern

Thank you Savannah Corps of Engineers for being a 2020 Project Partner! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering #GeorgiaSouthern Thank you Graphics Packaging International for being a 2020 Project Partner! #ExperientialLearning #Teamwork #ProblemSolving #Engineering #GeorgiaSouthern

Asst. Prof. Katz interviewed re: COVID-19 tracing apps

by: Jon DowdingPosted: Aug 28, 2020 / 05:02 PM EDT / Updated: Aug 28, 2020 / 05:41 PM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Smartphone users have taken to social media to express their concerns over data being shared with COVID-19 tracing apps.

WSAV NOW spoke with Frank Katz, assistant professor of IT, about whether you should be concerned.

The main developers for these apps are state health departments. As of now, Georgia does not have a COVID-19 tracing app in either the Google Play store or Apple’s App Store.

Katz says that so far, these types of apps have been working in many places around the world including Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The programs on the market use Bluetooth to identify app users who have been in closest proximity to someone who may have contracted COVID-19.

Many of the apps function works by randomly assigning a user six-digit code if they download the app. Using bluetooth to identify other phones around them, the app collects the six-digit identification codes of other users around them over a two week timespan.

If a user changes their COVID-19 status in the app to positive, the app will notify users that they’ve come in contact with someone who tested positive.

The apps do not use location services data and ask the user first before it collects data from the device.

“One of the problems with bluetooth inherently is that it has a short range,” said Katz. “It’s not that accurate in terms of the distance.”

Katz says the apps that are currently available do not present any major risks to the person who downloads it.

“You’re actually more secure using this, if we ever get an app for the state of Georgia, than you would be buying something on your phone from Amazon or booking a hotel or a flight or something like that,” he said.

He recommends people only download apps created by a credible state agency such as a state’s health department.

Dr. Gursimran Walia wins NSF grant

We are pleased to announce that Gursimran Walia, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, and his collaborators, have just received notification of a new $600,000 award through the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR). This is a collaborative project that will be carried out with teams of researchers at Georgia Southern University (PI: Dr. Walia), the University of Alabama (PI: Dr. Jeffrey C. Carver), and Western Oregon University (PI: Dr. Lucas Cordova).

This project aims to serve the national interest by integrating an inquiry-based learning approach (a type of inductive learning), contained within Testing Tutor, to support the software testing pedagogy in a computer science curriculum.  Software testing is a critical skill computer science students need to acquire to be successful practitioners.